The tendency to overthink can affect emotional health, relationships, and our ability to function on a day-to-day basis. Discover some keys to stopping this dynamic.
The mind is a wonderful tool. It allows us to analyze situations and solve problems, interpret what is happening in front of us and make decisions. However, she must be at our service and not the other way around. When mental noise gets out of control and overwhelms us, we can suffer high levels of stress and anxiety. For the same reason, we want to offer you some guidelines to stop overthinking.
This happens when we get caught up in an endless loop of repetitive thoughts that lead us nowhere. When we recall an event from the past over and over again or invest too much mental energy in anticipating an uncertain future.
In short, those who tend to overthink have problems living in the present. Fortunately, there are several ways to correct this dynamic.
How to stop overthinking?
There are certain personality traits that can lead some people to overthink more than others. For example, perfectionism, cognitive rigidity, and anxiety make us more likely to get stuck in the mind.
To reverse this trend from psychology, there are different approaches that can be followed. Some are more focused on acceptance, others on the voluntary control of thoughts, and some on how the environment influences us. In any case, the following recommendations can help with respect to what concerns us.
1. Focus on the present moment
Mental noise is always generated by thinking about the past or the future. Actually, here and now everything is fine.
Therefore, learning to anchor in the present is a great way to avoid overthinking. Mindfulness can help a lot in this goal since we can apply it even walking or doing our daily activities.
However, if you feel that your thoughts are overwhelming you, you can also resort to meditation or implement a relaxation technique. This will help you reduce the activation of your body and your mind.
2. Welcome the thoughts
When we are assailed by ideas that we don’t like, our first reaction is to resist them and fight to eliminate them. However, with this, we only get them to amplify and remain.
It can be more positive to practice non-judgmental acceptance of those thoughts. Let them be, but don’t get hooked on them or over-identify with them. As you practice it, you will see that just as they come, they go.
3. Don’t worry, take care
Even if you don’t know it, you may have a positive view of worry. Perhaps you think that by worrying you are being a more responsible, more considerate, or kinder person. Perhaps you think that by overthinking, you will find a solution.
However, repeating the same thought process over and over again does not lead to new solutions; it only causes suffering. Focus on taking real action and not mental action. Analyze what worries you and identify how you can act on it.
Sometimes you can fix the situation (for example, if you’re worried about a test, focus on studying). At other times, you will only be able to act on how you feel ( managing your emotions ). Whatever the case, take the corresponding action and do not stay in the mind.
4. Turn to therapeutic writing
Writing has been proven to be a great way to process and release emotional baggage, as well as to organize your thoughts. Therefore, when you feel that your mind does not stop, take a pen and paper and write down what is inside you.
By doing so you will feel liberated, and you will be able to see everything with perspective and order. Those thoughts that tormented you, somehow, will stay on paper. Thus, you can continue with your day.
5. Use distraction techniques
Thought-stopping is a simple and useful technique to stop overthinking, especially when combined with distraction techniques. For this, when you identify that you are starting the loop of thoughts, shout (out loud or mentally) “enough”. This will be the signal to stop rumination.
Now, focus your attention on any other element. It can be the environment (describing in detail an object you see) or mental activity (for example, counting backward from 100 to 0). In this way, you will have managed to redirect your thinking.
One last strategy you can use is affirmations. They are short, simple, and direct phrases that you can repeat to yourself at key moments, as instructions or encouragement.
For example, “I can do it, everything is fine”. Focusing on these mantras will help you detach yourself from the need to think and go over the same ideas over and over again.
Stop overthinking to take care of your mental health
Many times, we are not aware of the damage caused by overthinking everything. It is a habit that we have acquired and with which we continue.
However, it can significantly affect our emotional state, interfere with relationships and limit us on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, it is time to cut the trend, take action and calm the mind. Try the above tips and you will begin to notice differences.